Tag Archives: Interview

Interview with Abraham Padmanaban, Head Pastry Chef

1. How would you describe your style of cooking?
I believe my style of cooking can be categorized as being modern as well as adopting an occasional take on French and British classic cuisine. But over the years it has evolved into an undefined area – I mix and combine what I feel complements the final result until I am proud of what I have created.

2. Did you always dream of becoming a pastry chef?
I did. When I first started as a chef in the main kitchen, I didn’t feel quite complete. When I moved to the pastry kitchen, I then felt that this was the job made for me. I felt 100% in my element and loved every minute of it. Even from a young age I was unstoppable in my creations – as a child I used to play with clay all the time. The best part of it is, now I get to do the same with chocolate!

3. What’s your signature dish?
My signature dish varies periodically, and I have a new one approximately every three months. I do however, have two dishes that stand out of my collection. The first one is called the Ice Cream Fiesta, which is composed of 5 timeless, traditional English desserts which I then transformed into ice cream. These desserts included apple crumble, sticky toffee pudding with brandy snaps and butternut sauce, as well as a lemon, basil and lemongrass crisp. Another few of the classics I mix up into the five different varieties are chocolate cheesecake, crispy base and banana, and Baileys crème brulee with caramelised banana.
The second one is a shocker – sausage and mash! I do realize that at first impression this sounds strange for a dessert but it’s been widely popular. I make the sausages out of chocolate sponge cake on a hazelnut base, top it with a chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of Frangelico. The mash is made up of condensed milk, and for the sauce I use regular beef jus with chocolate liquor and thinly sliced plums on top.

4. What do you enjoy cooking at home?
I absolutely love cooking at home, it’s my life. Cooking for family and friends is an inexplicable pleasure and remains a constant reminder why I love my profession so much. In terms of what I cook, I enjoy all types of cuisine depending on my mood and occasion, as well as how much time I can afford to invest in the cook-out. I have an especially weak spot for Italian and French cuisine, but I also love to branch out into all types of international specialty dishes.

5. What’s the best piece of cooking advice you could give our readers?
I always tell people to cook only if they love it. When it is someone’s passion to cook, it is always important to cook straight from the heart, and follow your own creative path. At all times, you should be cooking for yourself with a vision to cook for an audience that shares the same passion for fine cuisine as you. This makes the experience infinitely more rewarding.

An Interview with Head Chef Kelvin Johnson

Kelvin has been Head Chef at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa for over 21 years since the hotel opened. Kelvin produces fantastic classic dishes using local quality produce. Let’s find out more about Kelvin.

• How would you describe your style of cooking?
Classic British with a twist of French

• Did you always dream of becoming a chef?
Yes, my mother was a chef so I started very early with her. I also won a competition at school so this pushed and inspired me.

• Did anyone in particular influence you in your career choice?
My Mum defiantly, food was a very big role at home, fresh ingredients were always key. We always sat down as a family for each meal. My Mum however did over stew vegetables so I always make sure mine are cooked correctly.

• What’s your signature dish?
Any sort of fish, simply cooked with seasonal vegetables

• What do you enjoy cooking at home?
To be honest nothing, I never cook at home. My wife is an excellent cook and I believe that my children should be brought up on her food.

• What’s your pet hate when it comes to food?
It has to be wastage, I can’t stand it. I try to use everything that I can, for example if I cook spaghetti bolognaise and I have made too much, I will make a lasagne as well.

• What’s the best piece of cooking advice you could give our readers?
Keep cooking simple and as fresh as possible, don’t over complicate it otherwise you will lose the natural taste.

• What was your first job and how long were you there?
It was at the 4 star Raven Hotel. This is where I started training as a chef and was there for 4 years.

• What do you do to relax?
Play with Apple products – I love them! I also enjoy watching my children play sport

• What’s your favourite ingredient to use in cooking?
It has to be garlic and ginger. These ingredients bring out the flavour in foods

• What’s your most exotic dish?
It would be my venison served with chocolate sauce

At Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa Kelvin offers an A la carte menu as well as the seasonal Market Menu, catering for vegetarians and all types of dietary requirements. With the lunch menu starting from only £18.00 for two courses why not stop by for a bite!